Farrell tempted to prolong 'brilliant' England venture

 

Andy Farrell says he is not thinking about life on the international circuit after the Six Nations Championship. "My remit has always been to work with England for the duration of this tournament and I have a very good job with Saracens that I enjoy doing," the great rugby league player and fast-developing union coach commented yesterday. "The future is irrelevant right now and none of us need distractions with a game against France coming up. These are long hours and long days: it's 24/7 and there are things that need doing."

This much can be said with certainty, though: Ian Ritchie, the new Rugby Football Union chief executive, is thinking a good deal about Farrell and his colleagues on the interim red-rose coaching staff – the caretaker head coach, Stuart Lancaster, and the forwards specialist, Graham Rowntree. There is a good deal of support for the idea that the three men should be retained en bloc once the current competition finishes and set the task of charting England's course towards the home World Cup in 2015. Much of that support comes from the players, one of whom said yesterday that the governing body would be "crazy" to lose any or all of them.

Farrell will indeed be back with Saracens, the Premiership champions, a couple of weeks from now, but as there will be no further international business on the agenda before the summer trip to South Africa, give or take the odd selection meeting, this is hardly an issue. Sarries are unlikely to prove obstructive if their man receives a second call from Twickenham, and it is equally clear that Farrell himself will be sorely tempted by any offer of a full-time position with England.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying this experience – it's absolutely brilliant," Farrell said. "It's so different to club coaching, where you're fully involved with a group of players for 46 weeks of the year. To pull together a core group of internationals in a short space of time and get the best out of them in a tournament like this is very challenging. I like to be realistic and I don't get emotional too often, but that game against Wales the weekend before last has to be one of the great experiences I've had in rugby. To hear people who have been going to Twickenham for years saying they hadn't experienced an atmosphere like it, and for us to put our best foot forward with the pressure on against a Wales team who were on fire... it's not something that comes round often."

True to his word, Farrell was sufficiently realistic to acknowledge that England's attacking game remains a few percentage points short of the optimum – a problem that must be rectified quickly, given the nature of the threat in Paris in four days' time.

"It's what we've been working on, both last week and this," he admitted. "But let's not get het up about it. Wales scored some great tries in the first two rounds, but they didn't create too many opportunities at Twickenham. If anything, we had more chances: three or four clear ones, I think.

"It's for us to educate our players, to show them how they could have done things better. I hope that when we play France, people will recognise the effect of that."

Interestingly, the coach was of the opinion that Brad Barritt, the hard-tackling Saracens centre who is by some distance the least talked-about member of England's new-look midfield axis, would be the key figure in any upturn in attacking performance. "Brad is central to many of the things we're about," Farrell remarked, "and I don't think I've seen any centre get the better of him in the three years I've been coaching. His defence is so good, it takes the gloss off the rest of his game. But he was made to be an international player, no doubt about it."

England will not confirm their line-up until Friday, but they will show loyalty to another Saracens player, Charlie Hodgson, by recalling him to the match-day squad at the expense of Toby Flood, the World Cup midfielder. Hodgson, a try-scorer against both Scotland and Italy, missed the Wales game because of injury, but performed well in his club's important Premiership victory over Northampton at the weekend. Flood, who played off the bench against Wales, has been released back to Leicester for their Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final with Bath.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker